Posted by bernadine lawrence Thu, August 19, 2010 10:16:54
There is definitely a stigma in the UK about being poor. Poor people, especially those on benefits, are being made to feel everyday, more and more, like ' scroungers'. They appear to be on the butt of every government cut, which succeed, every time, in hitting the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.
Cuts in Housing Benefit will lead to many of the poorest families becoming homeless. Cuts in Job Seeker Allowance will result in those being out of work becoming even poorer and, with less funds to seek work, thus finding their poverty perpetuated.
As many more are due to join the ranks of the unemployed, many more are due to suffer the very real hardships of being poor in the UK and even face the real possibility of having to go without food to pay the bills.
Earlier this month there was outrage at the suggestion that the government was planning on taking milk out of the mouths of babies by cutting free milk for the under five's. In a torrent of replies to the Independent on the subject, it was clearthat many were ignorant about the "so-called poor".
Many poor people in the UK are be too ashamed to admit that they often have to skip a meal, to meet growing costs on a declining income. And things are set to get worst because of growing food prices.
Food prices went up 0.7% last month, according to the Office for National Statistics and are due to rise even more because of what I refer to as the 'Global Grain Crunch'. Basic ingredients like eggs, milk, cheese, fish, lentils, rice and pulses have also been hit sharply with an increase up to 58% over the past three years, according to mysupermarket.
A recent report by the United Nation states that food prices could rise 40% in the next ten years and warns of "rising hunger and food insecurity". Statistics in the UK suggest that 1/4 of the population are buying less food.
But what does it mean for those at the very bottom in the UK? Those at the very bottom will find it increasingly difficult to feed themselves adequately, not only because of a lack of finances, but because of a lack of real 'know-how'. Without the knowledge of eating well on a minimum budget, they will eat badly or go hungry.
You would have thought that my book 'How to Feed Your Family for £5 a Day' would have been championed, left, right and centre, wouldn't you? However, I was surprised to learn that what I thought was an innocent little cook book was actually a 'rebel cook book', because it attacked the 'Junk Food Giants'.
This has now become a 'cult cookbook' and you can still buy it online, although I receive not a penny. Can you believe that a copy of How to Feed Your Family for £4 a Day sold for over £103 in an American bookstore as a 'rare' cookbook? It's true.
One of the 'rare' things about my cookbook is that it is 'real' and not just an exercise in what you can cook on a budget by some rich chef. All the recipes in my book were born out of necessity, truly - Necessity Is the Mother of Invention and this mother had to invent new recipes to feed her family.
Another 'rare' thing about my cookbook is that the recipes are born out of love. (Didn't you know that's why your mam's cooking is the best?) Also, if you look closely at the menus, the meals are perfectly balanced and it's all about getting the optimum nutrition from the most basic of ingredients.
Another 'rare' thing about this book is that it re-invents the notion of cooking. Having been lucky enough to have been taught Domestic Science in school, I actually found myself devising recipes from a scientific pont of view, often contrary to popular ideas.
Lucky for me I also have the skill to know how to compliment basic ingredients to make them delicious as well as nutritious. 'Delicious and Nutritious' - is there a book out there yet with that title?
More on my thoughts about Poverty in the UK, next time.